A board of companies including non-profit companies, private companies and others have joined hands to protect the privacy of people over the Internet. The board has tech giants like Google, Microsoft and others as its members. Their presence adds weight to the efforts and plans of the board.
The group has recently announced a reformed Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) which ensures privacy of individual over the Internet. The act was formulated way back in 1986 and much has changed since. This bill also aims at protecting people from unauthorized law enforcement access to their personal data over the Internet.
The principles of the new plan as laid out by the board stands as,
- A governmental entity may require an entity covered by ECPA (a provider of wire or electronic communication service or a provider of remote computing service) to disclose communications that are not readily accessible to the public only with a search warrant issued based on a showing of probable cause, regardless of the age of the communications, the means or status of their storage or the provider’s access to or use of the communications in its normal business operations.
- A governmental entity may access, or may require a covered entity to provide, prospectively or retrospectively, location information regarding a mobile communications device only with a warrant issued based on a showing of probable cause.
- A governmental entity may access, or may require a covered entity to provide, prospectively or in real time, dialed number information, email to and from information or other data currently covered by the authority for pen registers and trap and trace devices only after judicial review and a court finding that the governmental entity has made a showing at least as strong as the showing under 2703(d).
- Where the Stored Communications Act authorizes a subpoena to acquire information, a governmental entity may use such subpoenas only for information related to a specified account(s) or individual(s). All non-particularized requests must be subject to judicial approval.
This will protect all user data until it is publicly accessible. The Congresss approval will implement them through the ECPA for a better web.